BJP Replaces Shatrughan in Patna; Congress Fields Digvijaya in Bhopal

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New Delhi: On the day of annpuncing tickets for the various Lok Sabha seats, the BJP of Saturday replaced party veteran and cinestar Shatrughan Sinha from Patna City seat in Bihar with Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. On the other hand, the Congress on Saturday fielded veteran Digvijaya Singh from the BJP bastion of Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh.

The NDA in Bihar, comprising the BJP, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's JD(U) and Ram Vilas Paswan's LJP, Saturday announced its candidates for 39 out of the total 40 Lok Sabha seats in the state. As per the names announced at a press meet here by BJP national general secretary and party in-charge for the state Bhupendra Yadav, Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad will be contesting from Patna Sahib seat - a party stronghold represented by Shatrughan Sinha in the outgoing Lok Sabha.

According to media reports, Sinha is likely to join the Congress and seek re-election on a ticket of the grand old party. While Union minister Giriraj Singh, whose Nawada seat has gone to the LJP, has been shifted to Begusarai, his colleagues in the council of ministers Radha Mohan Singh, R K Singh, Ashwani Kumar Choubey and Ram Kripal Yadav will be fielded from their respective sitting seats of Motihari, Ara, Buxar and Pataliputra. Lok Janshakti Party state president Pashupati Kumar Paras will be replacing his elder brother Ram Vilas Paswan in Hajipur. The Union minister is likely to get a Rajya Sabha ticket. Chirag Paswan will be seeking re-election from Jamui. Yadav also said the candidate for Khagaria Lok Sabha seat, which would be contested by the LJP, would be announced shortly.

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The Congress has, on the other hand, fielded its strongman Digvijaya Singh from Bhopal and changed UP unit chief Raj Babbar's seat from Moradabad to Fatehpur Sikri to make it "easier" for the actor-turned-politician. Singh, who wanted to contest from his home turf Rajgarh, was publicly asked by MP CM Kamal Nath to choose one of the "tough seats" where the Congress has not won in three decades. Ex-CM Singh accepted the challenge and said that he would contest from any seat as long as it was chosen by "my leader Rahul Gandhi." He is yet to respond to the announcement made by Nath.

The Congress won three seats in the recent assembly polls from Bhopal. The high-profile Bhopal Lok Sabha seat is currently held by the BJP's Alok Sanjar. Late President Shankar Dayal Sharma was the last Congress winner from the seat in the 1984 LS polls. In 2014 the BJP won 27 of the 29 seats in MP. The Congress won the remaining two, Chhindwara and Guna, held by Nath and Jyotiraditya Scindia respectively. As per the Congress list, Imran Pratapgarhiya will now be the party's candidate from Moradabad in place of Babbar.

According to sources, Raj Babbar was not keen on contesting from Moradabad where the BJP has fielded its sitting MP Kunwar Sarvesh Kumar. In another change, Naseemuddin Siddiqui has been fielded from Bijnor, from where Indira Bhatti was named earlier.

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